Ted Leo & Opinions on Shamir

Ted Leo

After a seven year gap, veteran rocker Ted Leo has expanded his sonic palette with his latest solo record, The Hanged Man. Written in the wake of emotional and financial turmoil, the album is perhaps his most personal work to date. Ted Leo joins Jim and Greg in front of an audience at the Goose Island Tap Room for an interview and intimate solo performance. Plus a review of the new album from eclectic Las Vegas singer-songwriter Shamir.

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Ted Leo

This week, Jim and Greg are joined by singer-songwriter Ted Leo in front of an audience at the Goose Island Tap Room in Chicago. Leo gained fame in the early attention with his tuneful yet political approach to punk rock with his band the Pharmacists. But it’s been seven years since Leo’s last album. In that time, he formed a successful collaboration with Aimee Mann as The Both (who were Sound Opinions guests in 2014. But his family also suffered emotional and financial crises, which inform his ambitious new album, The Hanged Man.

The album’s expansive sound is the product of being able to tinker alone in his new home studio in Rhode Island. No longer on a label, Leo crowdfunded the album through Kickstarter and released it himself. Ted Leo discusses how his personal turmoil affected his music and how his fanbase gave him a lift. He also gives an intimate solo performance of songs from The Hanged Man.

Revelations Shamir

Revelations

Singer-songwriterShamir is back with a new album called Revelations. While his debut Ratchet sported a lot of house music and festival hooks, Revelations is a much more mid-fi effort that mixes genres like folk, soul and rock. Jim finds the record to be a shocking departure but in a good way. Shamir is singing about what’s on his mind: racism, sexism, gender, sexuality, etc. He articulates his thoughts wonderfully with a sonically interesting blend of musical styles. Jim is a fan of Revelations and gives it a Buy it. Greg agrees, and loves that Shamir is asserting his independence and uniqueness as an artist. He also loves Shamir’s allusions to other artists he admires, like the Ronettes and the Pixies. Greg finds this album to be inspired and interesting, and gives it a Buy It.

Jim

This week, Jim chose what he calls a perfect power pop gem for his desert island jukebox pick. He selected Flew a Falcon (Nut & Bolts Version) by Richard Barone. Barone was the frontman of New Jersey power pop band The Bongos. Jim says Flew a Falcon is about a teen realizing that there are incredible forces inside you, and you don’t know what to do with them. The song is also a nostalgic pick that reminds him of his days sneaking into to the rock club Maxwell’s in Hoboken as an underage fan in the 1980s.

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